Sunday, April 27, 2014

History Helps Us Now

 Frederick, Maryland, was started years before the American Revolution. The 1745 settlers were German immigrants. No doubt, colonists of Mary's Land, as the state was first known, had no idea of the tests ahead. No one yet could imagine how the new settlements, 13 colonies, would include adventurers who would venture far, far to the West, to another ocean, Pacific, they new nothing of, yet.

This week, on this Lord's Day, I visited Frederick with my husband and one of our daughters. We enjoyed seeing the improvements made to preserve the Historic District. I came back home, an hour away, mindful once again of how important the past can be to help us realize what we have in common with those of centuries past. For, like them, we may not be able to imagine what is yet to be discovered in so many areas of life. In this, we are very like them.

This brings me both a sense of humility and also a fresh appreciation for those who wish to move away from what is known or even thought believable to explore, to widen their willingness to seek the source in whatever area they wish. And I remember, too, how James Michener's Chesapeake included an eventually successful search for the spring that fed streams and rivers into the Bay. Wonderful, I think, that there is much beauty and desire to explore so near to each of us.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"You Shall Know..."

We have not because we ask not, according to Jesus. We ask Him for peace with God, the ultimate peace, and He answers Yes.

Today we have another rejoicing day. It is Easter, 2014. Churches have been crowded on the Lord's Day or the Sabbath all around the world. People seek The Lord. People know there is a need within each one that only Christ can satisfy.

He stood in the worship center of His hometown and read the appointed reading for that day. Gospel writer Luke tells about it, (see the gospel according to Luke, fourth chapter), and includes the words, the text, from Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 61: 1-3.

Love came. Jesus came, the Messiah, to set prisoners free, to give sight to the blind, to bind up wounds, to comfort those who mourn.

The risen, living Lord is here. It's time to talk to Him, to worship Him, to cast every care on the One who cancels the unbelieving past and gives us His presence. He holds forth to us the glorious future and, we know, the faith-filled present. He is our strength, our courage, our out-reaching love. He is our Joy. He is our hope of glory.

This is I my 34th year of trust in God, through His Son, of acceptance* of God's immeasurable and changeless love.

He says, "Behold, I make all things new." You who seek Him with all your heart shall know.

All glory to Thee, O God.

*True story in Not All Roads Lead Home (Jane Bullard)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Excellent Plans

In early days of my new life as a believer in Jesus Christ, I wondered about the future. Did God have a plan for my life? One morning I lay awake early, directing this question to God. "Do you really have a plan for individual people, for me?"

A few seconds later, my thoughts turned toward a new edition of a magazine for Christian writers. I had been too busy to look at it. Now, on that free morning, there was time. I went into the next room and found the magazine where I'd dropped it hurriedly.

Taking it with me, I began to skim a page at random, when I noticed a text box with bold typeface words: "I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."* God's answer to my question had come quickly, inside a writer's magazine.

That does not mean that I learned the specific plans ahead, including a move to a far away country for a ten-year period only a few years later. Other surprises could be mentioned. If I had been told of each one in advance, there would have been too many emotions to deal with, too much effort to anticipate details and clues about how such a plan might unfold. Havoc would likely have invaded my every thought.

The important part is knowing, by faith, that God's living Word is true, including that He knows His plans for us, plans for good, to give us a future, to give us hope at all times. The assurance is particular and individual. Sometimes the plans unfold within bad times. Sometimes they unfold as answers within good times. The way they come is no longer central to me. What I treasure is the realization that in all kinds of times, God's plans are at work. He knows the plans He has for you and for me, for our good and our hope.

God has excellent plans for everyone. Who will believe this?

*Based on Jeremiah 29: 11